April 4, 2005
Excerpts: Culture of the New
Companies admire and adore new things: new products, new customers, new deals, new territories. We live in a culture in which new is admired and old is rejected. Maintenance of the existing is drudgery, left to the lower paid, least important employees; trail-blazing of the new is the privilege of bright, talented executives. Compensation is traditionally higher for new customer acquisitions than for sales to existing customers. This cultural phenomenon sends a clear message about what is appreciated and rewarded in the organizationand therefore where resources should be invested. Employees, taking their cue from top management, will emulate the new culture in everyday work. In an environment of ever more limited resources, in which fewer projects get attention, the culture of the new will lead employees to neglect the care and maintenance of existing customers.
In this culture, maintaining and nurturing existing customers is regarded as secondary. We love to sell to one customer and move on to the next. Customers quickly get the message that the honeymoon is over, their business is being taken for granted, and they will no longer command priority attention. Adapting the companys lesson to their own situation, customers seek new vendors who will treat them as new customers.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.